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Working toward compliance

News-Sun - 7/3/2018

LAKE PLACID — Three business owners in the Caladium Capital of the World have been notified of having code violations that leave them out of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Two of the businesses were notified by the town’s Code Enforcement Officer on Friday. All three will be notified by certified mail as well. The recipients of the complaint letters are Cow Pies II, Rhodes Law Firm and the Care Center of Lake Placid.

Complainant Randy Reinhardt said the three businesses were in violation of the ADA laws dealing with exterior access to a building and parking. After six months of what Reinhardt felt was inaction, he took the next step to code enforcement.

It may not come to fines anyway. Susan and David Rhodes are the owners of the law firm that bears their last name.

Susan Rhodes explained that the couple did not own the building; they sold it on June 1 to Melissa and Daniel Debono. Rhodes said that when she and her husband moved into the building in 2000; they created a cement ramp and remodeled the bathroom to be ADA compliant.

“I don’t feel like that we were singled out for a reason and I have never heard a case for code violations ever,” said Susan Rhodes, who serves as an alternative magistrate for the town. “We put one (ramp) in and quickly took it out after two people fell over it. We came from Miami-Dade, where this was a real issue. The Debonos will put up a temporary ramp that you will have a sign to ring a bell or call the office. It has been ordered.”

Veronica Walker, owner and medical practitioner at the Care Center of Lake Placid, said she already has wheelchair access.

“We have a ramp in the back that we had to put in because the Town of Lake Placid will not allow us to put in a ramp out front,” she said. “They said it was dangerous and that they were afraid people were going to be tripping over it. So what we did, since they wouldn’t allow us to do that last year, we went down to the City of Sebring and we got a permit to pour a huge, two-car garage-sized concrete slab out back. It was something that we didn’t want to do but it was the best thing to do because the town wouldn’t let us put the ramp out front. We poured the huge slab out back so that people can just drive right up to and park on it and then we have our ramp on the inside.”

The cement slab cost $2,500.

“Where we have fallen down is by not having a sign. We need to let people know that we have access in the back for them,” she said.

“We did ask the gentleman across the street to paint something on our front door indicating the wheelchair access is in the back. He is pretty far behind, so I think I will buy a sign at a store on Wednesday.”

A Cow Pies II employee said they have a temporary ramp in the back and a sign indicating such. She said her landlord will be taking care of any other concerns.


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